The Rev. Giles Fraser, MA. Ph.D. is the red-flag-waving priest who resigned from his post as Canon of St Paul's Cathedral in 2011 because he could not condone legal action in evicting Occupy protesters from the precincts of the cathedral.
He writes a column in the Guardian and gives the impression that Marxism is far more important to him than mere Christianity.
He was a panellist on BBC Question Time last week and when the thorny problem of migrant trafficking into Europe was raised, he was the only member of the panel to respond with an unreserved positive attitude. Other panellists suggested trying to intervene in the trafficking business, which undoubtedly exploits people and has no regard for their safety or welfare. By contrast, Dr Fraser said, "I would say to them - welcome!"
But it is easy for him to say that. He has a job, as vicar of St Mary's Newington, that provides him with a house in London, big enough for his wife and three children. It may not be as gracious as the Wren mansion he occupied as Canon of St Paul's but it is a house, so he does not have to worry about putting a roof over his head. He will never feel the impact of unlimited, mass immigration on the housing market. He will never have to pay a mortgage and even when he retires, he can be assured that the Church of England will house him. That is part of the deal.
Moreover, the job he has is effectively a protected job, ring-fenced against any foreign competition. Being a vicar in the Church of England is a job only open to confirmed members of the Church of England. While other jobs get hundreds or even thousands of applicants, posts as vicars regularly attract no applications at all. We are desperately short of vicars, and even with women being ordained, many clergy have to serve two or three churches. Giles Fraser will never know what it is like to fear being undercut by someone from Albania, or wherever, who offers to give a cheaper sermon (More's the pity, some might say). In his job, it can't happen.
When he was setting out in his profession, it was open only to men, so the field was even narrower. He has never really had to compete. Even when he made his big gesture of resigning as Canon of St Paul's, he got a six-month term of notice. He could go on living in the house and drawing the salary for six months while looking for another job.
And he need not worry about his pension as there is no statutory retirement age for vicars. I know some who are going on working at the age of 85 or more.
So what I would say to the Reverend Dr Fraser is this - I challenge you to go and live and work for one year in the big, bad world outside the sheltering walls of the Church of England. Go and get a job that is open to everybody, with no secure contract, a job where you have to re-apply for your own position every year - that is what teachers now have to do. Find a job where any day, somebody from Albania can turn up and do it for less. A job where what you earn depends on how well the company does and how well you are deemed to have done. With the money from that job, go and buy or rent a house in London and move into it with your wife and three children. If you do that, you will know how ordinary people feel, living in today's economic rat-race.
After one year, come back on the Question Time panel and answer the same question again - if you are still alive and the shock hasn't killed you.
Lenten Meditations: Tuesday 28 March
3 hours ago